Most sewer backups give off warning signs before they become big problems. Usually the problem builds up over time, and so if you are paying attention, you can catch the signals that show there is a major blockage occurring somewhere down the line. (There are exceptions, of course, like flash flooding or sudden weather systems that cause instant damage.)
Pipes do get clogged over time — grease, hair, toilet paper. You may have even heard of the “fatbergs” plaguing certain cities’ sewer systems. For homes, it’s important to take proper care of your drainage, keeping things like “disposable” wet wipes and grease out of the pipes as much as possible.
Even so, sewer backup can still happen. If you notice any of the following, there is a chance that things are going haywire in the pipes and that a sewer backup is coming for you.
You know what we’re talking about here. The stench can resemble rotten eggs or much worse, and you can trace the source directly back to the sewage pipes. If there is an unpleasant odour coming up from your drain, it’s a good idea to think about addressing the problem by calling your local drainage experts.
If you are having a shower and notice that the water is rising around your ankles rather than draining, there’s a good chance that there is a blockage down the pipes and that the worst is yet to come. You might also notice this problem occurring in a sink after you wash the dishes. This is a sign that people often ignore for a while but we recommend you taking action as soon as you notice a lag in how quickly the water is draining.
This might take the form of soap residue that’s drying high up around the basin of the sink or tub orbits of foreign things floating in the toilet after a flush. This is usually a very clear sign that there are major problems in your pipes.
Yes, bubbles. Air can get trapped while water is trying to get past an obstruction in a drain, and this can cause bubbles too, well, bubble up. It can happen in the toilet, sink or tub and once you notice them, an alarm should go off in your head that something isn’t right.
Like with many home maintenance things, keeping an eye on things so you can catch them before they turn disastrous always pays off. This is especially true for drainage and pipes. We know the quick fix might be pouring very harsh chemicals down the drain and hoping for the best, but it’s usually not the best solution for these problems.
Calling in professionals who have the tools and technology to go in, assess the problem and properly fix the damage might seem like a hassle, but it’s actually a surefire way of protecting your home against a full-blown catastrophe. You will wish you had done it if you are cleaning up the mess from a sewer back up.
There are plenty of things we take for granted that make our lives easy and comfortable – especially the utilities that keep the lights on, the house warm, and the water running.
The water line that runs into your home is a pressurized system that sends water to gush forth from the faucet when you open the tap. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and city planning but since it is out of sight, most people probably spend very little time thinking about it.
Like anything, the water line can undergo damage and may eventually need water line repair or replacement. But how will you know?
Here are four common signals that the water line to your home is in need of some attention.
If you get into the shower and there is a slow trickle rather than the usual blast of water, or if you’ve noticed a drop in water pressure when you turn the tap on to wash your hands, there is a good chance the water line needs some attention.
If it appears that your dishwasher or washing machine seems to be leaving soapy residue or not getting things clean, there may be a lack of water feeding into the appliance. If you determine that the machine is functioning properly, there might be a problem further down the (water) line.
If there is a sudden increase in your water bill, and no reasonable explanation for it (maybe you just got your garden in the ground and started watering it twice a day), there’s a chance that water is seeping out of the line before it gets to your faucets.
Have you noticed strange puddles of water dotting your yard or accumulating on your property, and it hasn’t rained in days? Or perhaps your lawn is soggy in areas that don’t make a lot of sense. A broken water line might be responsible for the appearance of pooling water.
Not to be mistaken with water moving through the pipes in the walls, a water line break or leak might produce a number of watery sounds, even with the taps off. If you are hearing gushing water or a constant drip that doesn’t seem to have a source, the cause might be a water line leak.
If Vancouver and the Lower Mainland are known for one thing, it’s the rainy weather. While the rain makes the city and the landscape lush and green, it can also be the source of problems for our yards.
Backyard flooding is a common problem in Vancouver, and it is usually the result of a one of several issues. A swampy yard can be caused by excess run off from heavy rains or snow melt. Especially if you live at the bottom of a hill or are surrounded by higher elevation, run off might be a constant worry. Another common problem is old, inadequate or clogged drainage systems that have been previously installed around your property.
There are several ways to reduce standing water in the yard so that the problem is fixed for good.
In the case of run off, you can build a berm or small hill at a point in the water’s path. Since water always takes the path of least resistance, a berm will divert the water away from the yard and prevent it from getting swampy.
Another option is to install a dry well that will collect water when needed like during heavy rains or the odd city snow melt we get.
These solutions divert water while it is still on the surface and are useful when the water comes on fast and strong and doesn’t have time to percolate down into the soil.
Installing proper drainage like a french drain system is often the most effective and long-lasting solution, especially for prolonged standing water problems.
A french drain system consists of interconnecting perforated pipe in a simple grid that are installed below the soil. The water enters the pipe from above after it rains so that it can’t collect in puddles around the property. Once the water travels down through the soil and into the perforated pipe system, it is discharged at a low and convenient point somewhere else on the property.
French drain systems are usually installed during the building process, especially in a place like Vancouver. The beauty of these systems is that they are simple and incredibly effective, but they do need maintenance. Over time, roots can grow into them and sections can collapse as the ground shifts and the soil changes.
If the drainage around your yard is normally good but you have noticed an increase in standing water or it looks like a swamp out there, there is a good chance your french drain system needs some maintenance.
That’s where we come in. Our professional drainage team will come to your property and assess where the problem is. Don’t worry, we’ve seen it all! Often the problem requires replacing a section of pipe or flushing out the system from debris that has collected.
While we can’t do much about the weather, we can take care of our homes and property so that we have the best chance to prevent problems from becoming disasters. Drainage systems in a place like Vancouver need upkeep and we recommend making it part of your annual home maintenance check.
For any drainage needs, give us a call!
Lots of older home repairs or renovations, especially in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, are going to include the replacement or repair of the drain tile system.
This system is designed to collect and redirect water seepage away from the house. Depending on the location and age of your home or building, drain tiles can be installed either on on the interior perimeter of the foundation or along the exterior as a house is being built. If the drain tiles become blocked or clogged, your crawl space or basement can incur water damage or even flood.
The problem living in an area that was once a rain forest is that there is a lot of rain, which affects our buildings and their durability. Over time, nature finds a way to take over and clog drain tile systems. Trees and their roots grow into (or create) cracks, soil and other organic material becomes more compact so the slope lessens, becomes flat, or even eventually causes a negative slope, which is a huge problem if left unchecked. These areas of neutral or reverse slope can fill with mud and debris, clogging the system and creating backflow and flooding.
Whether you are doing renovations or repairs, or you notice leaks in the basement, it is a good idea to start with the drain tile system.
If you have a clogged or failing drain tile system, there are a few things to be aware of, and you have a few options moving forward.
At first, you may be convinced that all you need is some high pressure water to blast out the drain tile system. This might sound like the most affordable option, but it rarely solves the actual problem, especially if there is a section of collapsed pipe or a section with a negative slope. You may see an improvement in the short term, which can take some of the pressure off while you prepare to do a more major fix.
The next best thing to do is repair the section that is clogged, collapsed or broken. You will likely need to hire professionals for this, who can come in and send a camera through the system to properly diagnose the flooding and standing water issues.
Providing there are only a couple of trouble spots, this might be all you need to move forward. However, you might not know the extent of the problem until you start fixing one section at a time.
If there is a suspicion that there are multiple trouble spots, an overhaul might be in order. While this might seem like a big deal in the moment, a new drainage system or full drain system replacement will use new, modern materials that are highly durable. Again, depending on the age of your home and the diagnostics from the drainage repair company, this might be the most cost effective in the long run.
In Vancouver, keeping water and moisture away from our homes is a constant battle, but improvements in techniques and materials is making a difference. The important thing is to be proactive. If you notice a leak in your basement, and you suspect it is from your drain tile system, call us right away. Better to start fixing the problem now, rather than letting it grow into a disaster. Get a Drain Cleaning or Repair Quote today.
If you are having water problems around your house or a building you own, it can be a very stressful situation. Maybe you’ve noticed water pooling around the perimeter of the building or that the basement walls are starting to show signs of moisture build up. Cracks or noticeable changes in the concrete foundation are a telltale sign that you need to take a closer look.
When you notice mystery puddles or damp walls, you might really start to panic with thoughts of major renovations or repairs, and the price tag that comes along with that.
But before you get ahead of yourself, it’s best to investigate. The problem might be with your drainage system, and the issue and the fix will depend on what kind of drain your house is using.
The two main kinds of drains are the French drain (weeping tile drains are a type of French drains) and the Trench drain. The main difference between them is that a French drain captures and removes water that has seeped into the ground, while trench drains remove surface water before it can saturate the ground.
Is one better than the other? Let’s take a closer look at each system.
The French drain was invented back in the 1800s and popularized in North America by Henry Flagg French. He was a busy man— as president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, assistant secretary of the treasury, judge, lawyer, and agriculturalist.
The drain he developed begins with a trench containing a perforated pipe, which takes in ground water and redirects it away from the building. The trench is covered with rock or gravel. A weeping tile is a type of French drain, and protects a building from hydrostatic pressure. The pipe is usually installed much deeper in the ground in order to protect the foundation of a structure.
French drains are installed around the perimeter of the building’s exterior, or they are put in place underneath the basement floor in new builds. When heavy rainfall or snow melt begins, the moisture is drawn away from the property, rather than seeping into the walls and foundation.
Though new systems should be problem free for at least 10 years, it’s a good idea to perform regular inspections. Clogging can lead to flooded basements and other problems.
Trench drains, on the other hand, divert water away from the surface, usually over a long expanse. They are fairly basic, and mostly consist of a trench with a grate on top. They are often installed within a paved area, or around large-scale commercial buildings.
Since trench drains are above the surface, they are simple to maintain. They should also be inspected annually and cleared of any clogs or debris.
Neither drain is “better” than the other, they simply have different purposes. Your home likely has a French drain installed around the perimeter. If you own a commercial building, you may also have a trench drain system, especially around any paved area. Depending on the landscape you may need both!
In either case, if you have noticed any kind of moisture build up, the first thing you should do is call in drainage experts in order to do an Drain inspection, assessment and repairs. The problem may not be as bad as you imagine, but the sooner you deal with it, the better it will be.
In Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, we all know how important drainage is. The West Coast is the wettest place in the country, and it it’s extremely important that a home’s drains are functioning properly all year long.
This includes the perimeter drain around your home. Never heard of it? No problem. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about this important drainage system and how it works.
The perimeter drain is an underground drainage system designed to attract the water in the surrounding soil that has accumulated from heavy rains, rising groundwater or melting snow. The perimeter drain prevents the water from seeping into your basement and all houses are built with them.
These days, the perimeter drain is made of a plastic or PVC perforated pipe. The pipe is installed underground and runs the perimeter of a home or building. The perforated pipe is covered by fine mesh so that water is able to enter the pipe, but dirt and debris are not.
The pipe is covered with layers of gravel from less dense to more, so that water is able to filter through the soil and travel toward the pipe. From there, it is carried away from your home.
You know how basements often have a bit of a damp feel to them? Especially unfinished ones or basements with concrete walls and floors? That’s because the water underground is slowly on the move, drip by drip, and water eventually seeps into everything. The perimeter drain will help prevent water from pooling around or in your home, causing countless problems in the long run (like black mould).
Over time, perimeter drains will need some attention because they will become blocked with debris, dirt and roots. Older homes may not have PVC pipes but rather a clay or concrete system might need more attention because these older systems can break or collapse.
As with all elements of home ownership, it is best to be proactive and ensure that you are keeping up with inspections and maintenance.
For perimeter drain maintenance, pay close attention after the West Coast winter or if there is heavy rainfall in the summer. If you see water stains on your basement walls or mystery puddles forming around your home’s foundation, take steps to address it. If you have never had an inspection done on your home’s perimeter drain, it’s a good idea to get one.
If you suspect that there may be a problem with your perimeter drain, it’s important to fix it. Leaving it will make the problems much worse, and quickly.
Should you panic? No! Perimeter drains, even older ones, are designed to withstand many decades of functioning. But the more you know about it, the better.
If you have never had an inspection done on this system, or if you don’t know anything about it, it’s a good idea to call in a professional. They will perform a inspection by sending a camera through the drain system and report back if any maintenance is needed.
A clogged or even collapsing system does not necessarily mean a total overhaul. Your system may need to be flushed or a small drain pipe section replaced.
If you have any questions about the drainage system in your home, give us a call!